The Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project (GCAP) was established in 2012 under the auspices of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) with a total investment support of US $145 million. Of this amount, US$100 million is a credit from the World Bank – International Development Association (IDA), with the remaining US$ 45 million being a USAID grant.

Project Development Objective

GCAP aims to move farming from the present subsistence level to a commercial level that ensures wealth creation and food security in the country.

The objective of GCAP is to improve agricultural productivity and production of both smallholder and nucleus farms in selected project intervention areas with increased access to reliable water, land, finance, agricultural inputs and output markets.

GCAP is embarking on the rehabilitation and modernisation of existing public irrigation infrastructure, notably the Kpong Irrigation Scheme (KIS), the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP), all in the Eastern Region, and the Tono and Vea irrigation dams in the Upper East Region. The Project is restructuring and strengthening the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA) and the Irrigation Company of the Upper Region (ICOUR) to provide improved oversight of irrigation schemes Private sector players will be introduced to the management of the irrigation schemes and support given to the participation of farmers in the management of irrigation and drainage assets.

Zones of influence

GCAP is working in the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone, simply referred to as SADA Zone, and in the Accra plains to:

  • assist farmers to remove binding constraints.
  • rehabilitate selected irrigation infrastructure.
  • improve upon the management of irrigation infrastructure.
Some of the Project’s Achievements

Some of the achievements of the project so far are the following:

1. Agribusiness Investment Promotion

GCAP is providing needed support to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (CIPC) to develop a strategic plan for the agriculture sector, carry out research on the investment climate in agriculture, and develop the capacity of GIPC staff for commercial agriculture investments. The design and installation of an Investor Monitoring and Tracking System for GIPC are almost complete.

2. Pursuing Secure Access to Land

In compliance with the principles of responsible agricultural investments, GCAP has set up a mechanism for matching interested land-owning communities with interested investors. It has concluded a study into the Land Bank concept in Ghana, and will feed it into the creation of a database for land banks in the country. GCAP does not support the compulsory acquisition of lands. It has established a Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) that will enable a broad range of stakeholders – investors, smallholders, and host communities – to channel concerns, questions and complaints to the project.

3. Model Lease Agreement

For every project-supported investment, GCAP ascertains the existing rights in the proposed area to ensure that rights are respected, livelihoods are protected, and communities empowered to negotiate for beneficial agreements; and that investments rest upon a secure legal foundation. For that matter GCAP funded a study of various land lease concepts in Ghana in the SADA zone and Accra Plains. Out of this study, GCAP has published three reports on Model Land Lease Agreements to ensure easy and secure access to land for commercial farming purposes. The reports are: Model Commercial Agriculture Land Lease Agreement (MLA), Recommendations for Large-Scale Land-Based Investment in Ghana (LSLBI), and Community/Investor Guidelines for Large-Scale Land Transactions (Guidelines). The publications are the outcome of the recognition of significant risks that investment in agricultural land can pose for communities affected by land acquisition.

The LSLBI contains practical recommendations, examples of innovative practices, and concrete tools for improving commercial agricultural investment outcomes in a manner that results in social, economic, and environmental benefits for investors and beneficiary communities in which they operate.

The LSLBI provides a backdrop for the other two accompanying documents – the MLA and the Guidelines, which aim to facilitate socially responsible land investment practices in Ghana, offering information on building the capacity of local communities around commercial land investment processes and best practices. It is recommended that the three documents be used together.

4. National Framework for Outgrower Schemes and Contract Farming

GCAP has developed the “National Framework for Outgrower schemes/Contract Farming in Ghana” that reflects best practices, including international lessons adapted to the Ghanaian context.

5. Assisting Farmers with Matching Grants

There are 31 beneficiaries of a GCAP Matching Grants Scheme in the SADA Zone and the Accra Plains. Two-two (22) of them are in the SADA Zone and they are being supported with USD 5.9 million for the implementation of interventions such as training of smallholders, extension of electricity to irrigation systems or warehouse, installation of irrigation systems, construction of farm roads and warehouses. As at the end of December 2015, USD4.29 million (73%) of the approved funds for the SADA Zone had been disbursed to grantees for the implementation of these interventions. In the Accra Plains there are nine (9) grantees for whom USD2.75 million has been provided. As at the end December 2015, 75% of the approved funds had been disbursed to them.

Assisting smallholders in the SADA Zone

During the 2014-2015 cropping season, grantees in the SADA Zone supported a total of 5,832 smallholders, of whom 2,327 (40%) were women. The table below is a summary of their performance.

Unit Maize Rice Soya
Indicator HA 5,378.57 1,766.91 1,084.21
Yield/ Productivity MT/ HA 1.50 1.87 1.99
Gross Margin USD/ HA 169.05 298.20 723.97

6. Investing in Land Development

GCAP is working to attract investors into the Nasia-Nabogo Valley in the Northern Region. The exercise is being executed under two main categories:

(a). Improved Rain-fed Rice Production

A total of 3,000 hectares of watershed/ inland valley sites has been identified within the Nasia-Nabogo valley, and tests on the land suggest that it would be suitable for rice production. However, due to the occurrence of dry spells during the major rainy seasons, the risk in rice production is heightened.

GCAP is supporting interested investors to construct water management structures within the enclave to alleviate the impact of dry spells. Nine (9) investors have been selected, through an Expression of Interest that was advertised, as capable of engaging in commercial rice production within the valley. Contracts will be signed when all safeguards issues have been dealt with, to enable work to begin on water management structures and the development of the identified lands.

(b). Irrigated Agriculture for Large-Scale Commercial Farming

Another 10,000 hectares of land has been identified for large-scale PPP-style investor-driven commercial farming in the Nasia-Nabogo enclave. Three sites have been identified – Zoggo, Tamaligu and Bogdoo – for the construction of dams and primary canals. Further work is being done to produce info-packs to market the site to potential investors.